Category Archives: Lesbian Romance

Give Rescued Heart a Forever Home

Rescued Heart 
by
Georgia Beers

Reviewed by A. L. Brooks

Set in a no-kill rescue shelter for animals, this book is introduced as part one of a series entitled the “Puppy Love” series. Whilst the title of the series sounds slightly frivolous, part one is not so. Georgia Beers, author of the Lambda award-winning “Fresh Tracks”, continues to present us with romances that have all the lovely, squishy stuff we want, but with characters who have flaws that make them less than perfect. And this latest offering is no exception. In fact, I found I enjoyed this one even more than some of her previous novels because one of the main characters, Lisa, is carrying some fairly weighty emotional baggage that means she often says or does things that literally make you wince. I like that. I like that it took me a while to warm to her. I like that in at least two scenes in the book, I was literally saying ‘What the f***?!’ out loud to myself because she’d been so heartless!

Lisa works full-time at the shelter, Ashley volunteers around her day job at a bakery. Lisa is cold, distant, and definitely keen to keep herself to herself. Ashley is sweet, but annoyingly passive, comfortable in her life without feeling the need to push herself to do anything more challenging. As the story unfolds you can’t quite imagine how these two will spark, but Georgia Beers is very good at slowly revealing the depth of her characters, and before you know it, who they are makes a lot of sense, and explains their behaviour up to that point pretty clearly. Which means that when the spark does ignite (because, of course, you know it will), it does so at just the right time and in a very believable way.

Interestingly, although the book then follows the fairly tried-and-tested formula of a bumpy road to happiness (misunderstandings, long silences, kiss-and-make-up scenes), it does so whilst revealing even more just how cold and thoughtless Lisa can inadvertently be, making you really want to reach into the pages and shake her! At some points you’re not even sure if you want them to get together, and I actually found that a truly enjoyable experience. It was nice not to feel totally loved-up about them both all the way through, and it kept me guessing a lot longer than a lot of stock romances do.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the work done by the shelter, and it’s clear this is a subject matter close to Georgia’s heart. It came across as very well researched, and for me she struck just the right balance between telling us the reality of what the animals had been through before they were brought to the shelter versus standing on a soapbox shouting about the mistreatment of domestic pets. I was left in no doubt that there are some very evil people out there, but I wasn’t left thinking I’d purely read an advert for the admirable work such shelters do.

The book ends on a note that hints at what more there is to come from the series, either from Lisa and Ashley’s story, or perhaps from some of the other lesbian characters that have been introduced in this first instalment. I will certainly be eagerly awaiting that next chapter.

The Tea Machine

The Tea Machine
by
Gill McKnight

Reviewed by A. L. Brooks

Fancy a romp through space and time, visiting alternate realities (or are they parallel universes?) inhabited by Colossal space squid, a Roman Empire gone slightly out of whack, and lots of time for tea? Then this is the book for you. Continue reading

The Big Lie – Book review

The Big Lie
by
Julie Mayhew

Reviewed by A L Brooks

Set in a modern-day England that was successfully invaded by the Nazis in 1940, this book explores that what-if scenario through the eyes of a naive sixteen year old, Jessika. She is the model young mädchen of the Greater German Reich and believes utterly in the ‘perfect’ life presented to the people by the propaganda fed to them from on high. All that is shattered, slowly and surely, as she befriends and falls in love with the new girl next door, Clementine. Daughter of political parents who dare to defy the authorities, Clementine is everything Jessika is not – outspoken, questioning, rebellious.

This novel is brilliant and disturbing, and left me pondering it and its message for some days after finishing it. Julie Mayhew (who also wrote Red Ink, short-listed for the 2014 Branford Boase Award) has delivered up a fascinating and terrifying tale of an England we wouldn’t recognise, and yet which seems utterly believable. The gradual stripping away of Jessika’s innocence, and its repercussions, are sometimes very painful to witness, but always page-turningly gripping. Through Jessika’s story we get to explore and question what loyalty means, and how far any of us would go for someone we cared about. It’s a tale that is upsetting, thought-provoking and very, very clever.

The book is aimed at the Young Adult market, and when I first learnt this, I have to say I was perturbed. The subject matter, the language used, the imagery conjured up – all of it made me squirm at the thought of a kid aged maybe twelve to fourteen reading it. And then I stopped, and considered that for a long moment. Actually, why wouldn’t you let someone that young read this? What better age to introduce someone to the horrors of Nazism, to educate them early on to ensure another generation doesn’t let the world ever be taken over by such evil again? Let them ask the myriad of questions this book will undoubtedly raise in their minds because in the long run, that can only be a good thing.

At the Water’s Edge: Book review

At the Water’s Edge
a novel by
Harper Bliss

Our reviewer A L Brooks looks At the Water’s Edge.

It seems more than appropriate, in Suicide Prevention Month, that I post this review of Harper’s first novel, published late in 2014. Harper Bliss has – until now – been (in)famous for her scorching erotic short stories and novellas (the High Rise series, French Kissing, Girls Only, amongst many others), and if you picked up Water’s Edge expecting more of the same, you may find yourself surprised but hopefully not disappointed. Yes, this novel takes Harper down a very different pathway than previously, but it most definitely takes her writing up to a much higher level at the same time. Continue reading

A Dash of Romance

A Little Bit of Spice
by
Georgia Beers

Reviewed by AL Brooks

I have to start this review with a confession – this is the first Georgia Beers novel I have read. Tsk, tsk, and I call myself a fan of lesfic… Georgia is the author of the Lambda award-winning Fresh Tracks, plus many other highly regarded lesbian romances, and I can honestly say after reading this delightful book I will definitely be going back through Georgia Beers’ catalogue to see what I’ve been missing. Continue reading